Friday, August 31, 2007

Greenbelt 2007 - Part One

Greenbelt was amazing, as usual. For us as a family it ran really well. We got there set on Friday morning, get set up and had time to look at our programmes. I registered Callie for the Children’s festival and put her to bed while Nettes looked around and listened to Billy Bragg.

I slept really well and spent the next morning, after a coffee at the Tank – Greenbelt's Cybercafé – exploring the exhibitions and shops and stumbling across a guy teaching some kids how to do graffiti. And in the afternoon I went to a service on the grass at the arena – the sort of second/overflow stage. We sat in groups and were given numbered envelopes with instructions which we followed to the numbers on the screen. There were icebreakers, discussion questions and activities including breaking of bread.

In the evening I went to Soul Space - a room at the highest point of the festival for some evening prayers in the theme of the four seasons. Then after failing to get into Bassline Circus I decided to go to ‘The God Delusion’. Although very philosophical and not easy to get my head round it was presented in a way that kept my interest – with stories, puppets and a giant woman with wearing woollen clothes that were unravelling – a picture of how your faith can unravel with doubts and questions but rather than lead to nothing can be re-knitted into something new. Picture by Becky Garrison

Normally I would head off to the tent at ten o’clock but somehow I was awake enough to listen to a gig by Lies Damn Lies and go to the start of Christian Aid’s candle lit vigil for climate change. Of course this meant I was tired the next morning. But we still got to the main communion service albeit the overflow in the arena. I got us a couple of cups of chai from the Tiny Tea Tent and enjoyed the graphics on the screen which we would have missed if we had been in the mainstage area.

To be continued...

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Off to Greenbelt 2007

What is Greenbelt? For the uninitiated think of a cross between Glastonbury Festival and a Bible Week and add in some creative worship. It all takes place at Cheltenham Racecourse. One thing that I like a lot is the café culture. A couple of good places that I’ve found to hang out are the Performance Café and the NewForms Café. In the Performance Café there are a number of Christian musicians that I wouldn’t mind seeing after scanning their profiles on the Crossrhythms website. The NewForms Café host two or three creative worship services that I wouldn’t mind going to and it would also be good if Callie could get to these as there are a couple of family services.

This year I want to make sure that Nettes get to see what she wants to. So I’ll be getting up really early to pack the car. When we get there I’ll help set up the tents as much as possible and encourage Nettes to look at the programme in the afternoon and beleive me it takes some looking at - as you have so much choice and need to plan in times to just chill. I want my choices to fit around Nettes and queuing up to get Callie into the children’s festival. I think in the last couple of years I’ve been so excited about what was happening that I didn’t actually give as much thought to Nettes and Callie. It’s probably understandable since it was all new to me, but this year I’m determined to be more thoughtful.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

What a friend we have in Facebook

This summer a long with a few others in our church I’ve been enjoying the internet’s latest and greatest social network application - facebook. I’ve also just hooked up with some people at college, staff and ex-students. I’ve now got a network of over 30 friends who are kept posted on what I do on facebook. There are also links to this blog there and anything else that I might have found of interest. On my facebook profile I’ve posted a couple of youtube videos, put up a bookshelf, added a couple of movie quotes. It feels a bit like decorating your room with posters and filling it with stuff.

It began as a way for me to keep in contact with people over the summer as not only does college go on holiday but there are so few people in the church around. In fact there are so many away that instead of hiring the community centre for meetings in august we are just having socials. Last week I bought the veggie burgers and salad as my contribution to a barbeque, this week I really enjoyed the treasure hunt around the reservoir and next week we’re having a picnic in the park. People have also organised a murder mystery evening and a shorting stars party which were both great.

So actually, together with playing with facebook, we’ve been doing a lot!

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Time with Callie

This summer I’m spending some time with my little daughter Callie.

Last week my wife Nettes was away all week on a summer school with the Open University working on her psychology project so I had Callie 24-7. Amazingly I managed to keep on top of the housework and take Callie out on a day trip to Weston-Super-Mare with our local Sure Start. We also got out a couple of days to have a meal either at Sure Start or at our Community Centre. I don’t know how I managed it but I also taught Sunday school and led the discussion in the house-group with people coming round for a meal before hand. Interestingly we were talking about parenting what we learn from our children. By Friday I was exhausted.

Nettes is now back so she can take Callie some of the time over rest of the summer. But she is now busy looking for a job to help support herself while she does her NVQ next year. So I am still seeing plenty of Callie. We’ve had some good walks down the canal into the city centre. Both Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery and the Ikon Gallery run time for children to draw or paint as well as look round the exhibitions so we’ve visited both of those and may go back again next week.

It’s really good being with Callie but it can get tiring so I’m really pleased that she’s booked into a summer play scheme for the following week.